Making Connections Abroad
Every semester, students in education abroad immerse themselves in new cultures as they discover new learning opportunities. This summer, students in a summer course in Montepulciano, Italy have gone even further, as they make a direct impact on the community.
Students in Associate Professor of Art History Philip Kiernan’s Summer I session of the Art and Archaeology course assisted in the preservation of documents held by the archive of the town of Montepulciano. The project included digitally archiving more than 2,000 records dating between the 14th and 19th centuries for the church of San Biago, an important historical and cultural landmark located just outside the walls of the town. The digitization of the handwritten documents in the archive not only preserves these fragile documents for the future, but will eventually make them more easily accessible to researchers and members of the Montepulciano community who are interested in their town’s past. The students’ work will lead to the creation of a website about the history of the town.
The collaboration between students and the town of Montepulciano highlights how KSU faculty members’ connections to different communities around the world can bring valuable benefits to our students. In this case, the practical experience students gained in cultural heritage management had a mutual benefit for the community in which they were learning. The project provided an excellent introduction to the site, as well as to our partners in Montepulciano. Students were able to make personal connections to the town’s past while becoming a part of its future.